Manchester United’s Top 10 Freekicks

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Ian, Grognard and Eddy get together to create what might be Manchester United’s greatest freekicks since the inception of The Premier League. Where does your favourite rank?

10. Gary Pallister. May 1993 vs Blackburn @ Old Trafford.

What can you say about this? I wasn’t going to place this one on the list because I couldn’t find a video of it but Ian came through in his search (Thanks mate).  Not the most skilful of kicks but I love it because in the penultimate game of the 93 season and the last game of the season at Old Trafford for United.  Up to that point, every United player on the team other than our keepers had scored a goal except one man.  Despite being a rock of Gibraltar for us as a defender all year Gary Pallister had a large goose egg under goals.  With United up 2-1 and going into injury time, Bryan Robson is fouled just outside the box.  So who comes up to make the free kick but the most unlikely of takers, goalless Pally.  What I love about the kick is that it was a well placed low worm killer and it was heroic drive culminating in an enormous emotional outburst from Pallister, his team-mates and Fergie as well.  It was just a great moment in a fairly meaningless match, as we had clinched the title well before that.

 

9. David Beckham. April 2003 vs Real Madrid @ Old Trafford.

This one is dear to me.  It meant little as Madrid had already pretty well knocked us out with Brazilian Ronaldo’s dazzling three away goal display in the first half but it culminated in a furious comeback for the club to at least salvage some pride by coming back from 1-3 at home to win the match 4-3 but lose out on aggregate.  The comeback was really launched by Beckham who curiously started the match on the bench due to being in Fergie’s doghouse after the infamous Fergie boot kicking incident that made the news.  Becks was upset and proud and when he came into the game he immediately responded with a goal mouth scramble of a goal, and culminated it with this wonderful Beckhamesque free kick of a wonder goal.  I love it because I am a die hard Beckham fan and supporter and to this day I still believe Fergie was wrong in his treatment of the lad in those final days.  I was so happy to see the player show his pride and his love for the club by coming in and snatching us victory and both him and the club some pride which had vanished due to Madrid’s outstanding performance up to that point.

 



8. Dennis Irwin. January 1994vs Liverpool @ Anfield.

This one happened in one of the most epic away clashes ever. It happened against Liverpool in 1993 that has to go down as one our greatest and still most disappointing results ever against our bitter rivals.  Thanks to this special effort by Dennis we took a shocking 3-0 lead at Anfield.  It was truly a lights out performance in the second half only to have the scousers battle back to even the score at 3-3 at the end.  Still, at the time we were comfortably in first while Liverpool were mired in 9th place but the free kick Dennis offered up was truly first class and it’s still hard to believe that a defender and a fullback yet, could have the kind of skill to deliver a free kick of this class.

 


 

 

7. Owen Hargreaves. April 2008 vs Arsenal @ Old Trafford.

This one is not just a touch of class but it comes from my fellow compatriot from Canada so it’s close to my heart.  Hargreaves as we know was fighting his debilitating leg injuries and wasn’t a reliable regular during his stint with us but we all knew he had special skills.  What many United fans didn’t know however, but I did because my love for Bayern Munich is that he was very adept at taking free kicks in a very Beckhamesque manner.  This little gem was not just a beautiful finesse special with artistry written all over it.  It was a vital home goal that gave us the victory late in the 2007/08 campaign, and basically wrote off Arsenal’s chances with four games left to play in the season.  It was a late killer blow and it gave us some breathing room on our road to capturing the EPL title that season while marking another loss in what was a late season collapse by Arsenal who had led the league for most of the year.  That certainly places an exclamation point after Hargo’s magic moment.

 

 

6. Eric Cantona. September 1993 vs Arsenal @ Old Trafford.

As the Motorhead song goes, “Bow down to the…bow down to the King”.  And believe me, I do every night before I go to sleep.  Eric Cantona was, is and forever will be my favourite United player and quite simply ‘The King’.  But despite his greatness, he was not one who had too many free kick goals during his outstanding but short five year stint with United.  But this classy effort from September of 1993 against rivals Arsenal was a cracker that left David Seaman helpless, United fans delirious and Fergie breathless.  I love Fergie’s reaction to this goal as he was truly wowed by the moment.  Most importantly, it was the only goal in a hard fought and very evenly played contest.  What better way to beat a club like Arsenal than to beat them with a cannon from the King?

 

 

5. David Beckham. September 1998 vs Barcelona @ Old Trafford.

They don’t come much bigger than this.  Beckham scores a memorable goal to temporarily give United the lead in the second of two group matches to be played that season against the hated Barcelona.  Coincidentally both matches ended up as thrilling 3-3 draws but this goal was just of the finest quality and a true gem from Becks as he gave United the 3-2 lead at the Nou Camp only to have Luis Enrique tie the match on a controversial penalty decision.  It was one of the earmark moments of our drive to the Treble that season and the goal was even more important as it was away from home under a very hostile environment.  Does any goal scored by this lad better dictate or warrant the saying “Bend it like Beckham”?

 

 

4. Ronaldo. May 2009 vs Arsenal @ The Emirates.

I’ll be completely honest, this goal would be number one on my list if it were not for a Spanish muppet manning the posts for Arsenal.  Manuel Almunia has never been a keeper I liked and his lack of quality was never more evident on this goal but still, one must still take nothing away from Ronny’s thunder striker, the position of the field from where he struck it and the sheer audacity to even attempt it.  Most importantly, it was the second goal of an outstanding 3-1 away victory in the second leg of the 2009 Champions League semi-final vs the Gunners.  For me this goal epitomized what Ronaldo was all about.  He just refused to believe that he could not score even though the commentator believed there was no way he would even attempt it.  Listen to the announcer’s reaction after he scored.  Priceless.

 


6Cristiano Ronaldo Free Kick vs Arsenal by pantrak1
 

3. Ronaldo. February 2009 vs Blackburn @ Old Trafford.

What was I saying about Ronaldo’s sheer audacity before?  Yet again he attempts a free kick that not only looked impossible due to the sharp angle, but was not even something most of the all time greats would even try to attempt.  But there is no never in Ronaldo’s lexicon and try he did.  The 60th minute of a tough and tight 1-1 contest against feisty Blackburn and we were all sitting and wondering if somebody was going to save our bacon in a game we needed to win in a late season home clash.  Up steps Ronaldo with all the swagger and confidence of a matador and what he produces is a classic that would be on many people’s list as number one.  But not mine.  On mine it enters at a very respectable third place.

 

 

2. David Beckham. May 2003 vs Everton @ Goodison.

Boy I must say not placing this ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ special as the best United free kick of on this list was very difficult for me.  It only speaks volumes for how great the number one kick on the list is.  Quite simply this goal best defines the greatness of David Beckham at the task of free kick taking.  This kick was to be his last goal for United in his last game, which also happened to be the final game of the 2002/03 season.  It culminated in a 2-1 road victory over Everton but this goal came as we were losing 1-0 just before halftime.  What makes this goal great is the drama of the moment.  Beckham left with a bang and a memorable exit in Hollywood fashion with a spectacular free kick that for me defies physics.  He is far to the right and all logic says he will try for the near corner.  Physics and angle tell us that to try for the far corner from such a wide angle on the right for a right-footed player would be frankly impossible.  Well Becks proved science and logic wrong with a bender that was absolutely mesmerizing and breathtakingly accurate.  I still get goose bumps when I see the replay.  What a goal and what a way to depart.

 

 

1. Ronaldo. January 2008 vs Portsmouth @ Old Trafford.

Yes it’s true, I love Ronaldo, but honestly despite his defection to Real Madrid, what’s not to love?  The lad was just pure dynamite, a hurricane, a tsunami and probably the most skilled player of the past twenty years.  His free kick gem vs Portsmouth in 2008 makes it to number one on my list because I have never seen anything like it from anyone ever.  I spoke how Beckham’s goal defied logic and physics; well this one defies physics and gravity.  It’s not as difficult a shot from it’s angle as it was straight on but the hit defies the laws of physics and gravity and aerodynamics in the manner of it’s flight path and velocity.  Most free kicks tend to bend one way or the other.  The nature of the ball and the angle of the foot on contact pretty much ensure a ball flies right or left.  On occasion if hit properly it can fly right or left and dip or even rise but I have never seen a free kick hit straight that rose and then dipped like a a knuckleball pitch in baseball.  The ball had no spin like a knuckleball pitch and so it was controlled by velocity and the air currents it was fighting.  And what a wondrous strike it was.  28 Yards out and hit like a Howitzer it flew through the air and completely froze the Portsmouth keeper on the day David James. It made the score 2-0 United, which is how the game ended.  Not the most important free kick ever taken or at the most opportune time but it was a vital goal in a tight contest nonetheless.  But nothing can take away from the quality of the strike as it goes down as the finest free kick I have ever seen taken and believe me I have seen a lot in my 40 years of watching this fine game.  It may not make your list at number one but it has to make the list nonetheless.  For me it epitomizes power and audacity as well as imagination and unparalleled physical talent.  Ronaldo and that kick are both one in a billion.

 

 

Well that’s the top ten list.  Special thanks to Ian and RedDevilEddy for helping me compile the list and for finding and editing the videos to help you enjoy the article with.  Hopefully you enjoyed it despite many of you probably having freekick’s you believe belong in the list.  Both Ian created a bigger list while I determined who made it in the top 10 and in which order. I had to leave out several which we both felt were great and deserved high consideration.  Apologies to Ryan Giggs for not including him in the top ten list as he’s had several great freekicks down the years as has Wayne Rooney. Juan Veron can feel aggrieved he’s missed out and we could probably make a top 10 of David Beckham’s all of his own (Man City away, West Ham away, Everton at home, Southampton and Leicester away to mention but a few).

With that in mind here’s a few examples of what we had to leave out to create the list.  Perhaps one or more would make your list, you be the judge.

 


 


 


 


 

Yet more Ronaldo but lets face it, he took many free kicks during his six year tenure with the club, and many went in.  Truly, as a club and as supporters we have  been blessed with many players who have delivered the goods from free kick land over the years.  And may the trend continue for decades and decades to come.

Please share this on Facebook with as many friends as you can and get them to Like us.

 

Van, Ian & Eddy

 

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62 Comments

  1. Sometimes he [Ronaldo] must even amaze himself — commentator on #1 freekick goal :lol:!

  2. Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player this world has ever seen.

    That free-kick against Pompey will never be replicated, as there never will be scored a goal like that ever again. It’s just impossible, simply impossible. But he did it.

    Says it all…

  3. Top 5 goals in recent years :

    1.Scholsey against Barca
    2.Ronaldo against Porto
    3.Rooney overhead against City
    4.Owen against City
    5.Macheda against Villa

    • That’s a good list but I still love the long free kick Ronaldo made over Arsenal at the Emirates in the semi-final second leg of the CL. Yes a muppet was in goal but the ball was still struck with great venom and to have the bollocks to even attempt it speaks volumes of this player and his confidence. I also like Berba’s scissor kick last year although I forget the date and opponent. True class and finesse.

  4. Not sure what’s happened in the Accrington Stanley v Tranmere Rovers game but it’s been abandoned due to ‘serious injury’.

    Fingers crossed but it doesn’t sound good that…..

    • HE has to be. He is far more composed and a better finisher and not to mention isnt offside every 5min

      IM NOT convinced about chico

    • No way. But Chich is struggling to find his form and fitness due to a long season and summer playing and that neck and then leg injuries that he has suffered. I predicted he would suffer the sophomore jinx, I just hope it doesn’t last the season. And if he wants his position back, he needs to stop putting himself offside all the time.

      • GROG why do you say NO WAY for welbeck? He is quality and although not world class he is better than chico in nearly all areas and he brings more with his all round game

        • i like the way people want local boys to succeed but we are talking about an established international who has proved himself at every tournament he has played at with both club and country.Welbeck is good,but this is his first test.Like the saying goes,form is temporary but class is permanent.

        • How quickly we forget. Chicharito is a goal scoring machine and that is worth double to what Welbeck brings. Don’t get me wrong, I like Danny but Hernandez is a special little pea who can score over 20 goals a season without much effort. His goal scoring instinct is not something you can teach.

        • Agreed again, he is just out of form but will be back to his goal scoring ways. He is a natual finsisher and as you say you cannot teach that skill.

  5. People all right? Still know how to breathe do we? Well, how about typing? 😀 I know it’s international break but come on people, must be plenty to discuss now! Top 10 free kicks is a great subject, I know of a lot of goals which were unfortunate not to be on that list. Ronaldo vs Pompey in 2006, Becks vs Liverpool at Anfield, even Wazza scored a belter against Fenerbache.

    – Should Danny Welbeck be our first choice striker?
    – Is Cleverley a certainty in our midfield?
    – Who should play right back, Smalling or Jones? Where do that leave Rafael!
    – What’s up with Fletcher and his illness?
    – Can anybody possibly beat me on FIFA 12?

    • I saw your recent matches record on your profile… you have been beaten many times! 😛

    • 1. Should Danny Welbeck be our first choice striker? NO

      2. Is Cleverley a certainty in our midfield? NO

      3. Who should play right back, Smalling or Jones? Where do that leave Rafael! Jones and it leaves Rafael where he always is, in the infirmary

      4. What’s up with Fletcher and his illness? When it rains it pours. Bad things come in bunches.

      5. Can anybody possibly beat me on FIFA 12? From what Ian is saying, Aunt Effie would have you for dinner and a one armed man could fight you to a draw. 😉 😉 😀

      And if I were you I’d be more concerned about taking Patrice Evra’s job rather than playing FIFA 12. I dream of the day our back four is Jones, Smalling, Vidic and Eddy.

  6. Love the Ronnie free kick against arsenal. That was easily one the best games I have ever witnessed. I remember turning the tv off and fighting back tears I was so moved by Ronaldo’s performance. He was simply unplayable and nailed the coffin shut on Wengers Youth movement.

  7. We need to stop being obsessed about our young players and let them develope.Cleverly hasnt even played a season and we are looking at him as our saviour!Same goes for Danny and Jones……..isnt it the way we raved about Oshea after the Madrid game,Evans in his first full season?The same hype that always builds them is the same that pulls them down,so please shall we let them develop?

  8. I am somewhat of of a Welbeck sceptic, but he has to start. Fergie needs to play the players in form and at the moment he is on fire. Chicharito spends more time off side and seems to be having that second tricky season syndrome. As much as I am not convinced with Welbeck, he has bags of confidence, is tall and seems to revel in the spotlight.
    Berba really is a worry, what is the point of having him as a sub, when he is not an affective sub? Fergie admitted as much as the reason he was dropped for the Champions League final. It is like having a one legged man in an arse kicking contest, useless. Truthfully I can see him winding his contact down and leaving on a free, which would be a real waste of money.

    • Yeah, im the same mate. Have to be honest, i was a sceptic an all for a long time, and i still think theres areas in his game he needs to work at (not unusual though in a young players), but agree 100% as of right now, the lad deserves to start ahead of hernandez. Hes the form man, the man whose confidence is sky high, and the man who right now, looks like wazza’s best partner up top.
      So until hernandez gets his game back, hes going to have to just settle being 2nd fiddle. I have no doubt though, he’ll be back fit and firing in the very near future. 2nd season syndrome i dont think will effect him, his movement and finishing ability is just so natural to him, i just cant ever see him not scoring goals. Just give him time to get fit again and he’ll be back firing, at which point i still think it has to be hernandez > welbeck for me because quite simply, hes a guaranteed 20/25+ a season striker, whereas welbs is not.

  9. Today is indeed a very sad day for me and billions around the world who value innovation, beauty and vision. Today the world has lost a true leader and a man who I am not ashamed to say I truly idolized and admired greatly. Steve Jobs passed away after a long battle with cancer and it is without a doubt a great loss to his company Apple but mostly to the world of innovation and pushing the envelope. Apple is my favorite company by a country mile and for good reason, the products they make are simply put, awesome. His ability to think outside the box and to get the most out of his people can never be underestimated as he definitely was the Alex Ferguson of the technology and innovation sector. A sad day indeed.

  10. Im a massive fan of the little pea, but Welbeck has shown me another dimension. Chicharito is the better goal scorer with no question but he doesnt have the technique and vision of Welbeck. Im sure he will have a rough patch or two, but so far he has proven to being an even more effective partner to rooney than Chicha.

    • Danny is perfect, he’ll become one of the World’s best one day. Just has to stay free of injuries, he is a nightmare to defend against and because he has such a great balance of individual brilliance and team-play I envy his team mates. A joy to watch, and can see him reach hights only Ronny has hit at this club!

    • Welbecks ability to bring others into play has probably been the thing that has impressed me most about him, and right now i agree wholeheartedly, he’s the guy that deserves to start. But whether hes a better partner for wazza or not, im not so sure. Welbs is more capable of laying chances galore on a plate for wayne, whilst netting maybe 10-15 goals a season, a respectable tally really, but i think its a bit premature to forget how well the “roonandez” combo worked an all, over the course of a season (well half a season anyway).
      Ok hernandez isnt the type of guy whose going to lay chances on to his partner, but rooney even spoke himself and said how it was hernandez’s ability to play off the last man, that left him with so much space in behind for him to exploit, about the time when he went through his best run of form near the end of last season.
      Chicha ended with 20 odd goals, and wazza, even though he effectively missed the first half of the season, still ended with 15. A total of what 35 odd between them, a total that no doubt could be bettered this season if regularly paired together.
      So i suppose it depends what we want really. I think welbeck has shown us that he is a very good striker, and for certain games will probably be a better option than hernandez up top, but i still think as a partnership, there is little better than that roonandez combo, in world football.

      • Truthfully players should be played when they are in form, Welbeck currently is and Chicharito currently isn’t.
        I wish oh wish, Fergie would stop playing Valencia at right back. He is a right midfield player and looks like a fish out of water there. Yes he has had the odd decent game there, but it is not his natural position.
        Fergie has an obsession in playing people out of position hoping that it works. David May, Alan Smith all were and failed miserably, I hope Vally doesn’t go the same way as he is a very good player.

        • we dont have a choice mate till now, fabio hardly plays even when he is pretty decent because we have no other cover for evra and add the fact that he cant complete 90 minutes is another serious problem…i also think Fergie wants to offer more attacking threat on both flanks. like it or not he offers more than all our fullbacks going forward. i think given time and experience playing there, valencia can play a more frequent role there but hopefully only against minnow teams.

        • It is Ok when you play 4-4-3 having attacking fullbacks, but in a 4-4-2 it s more risky.

    • Good points mate and I agree but lets not forget, the bottom line is scoring goals. Substance over style I guess. Chicharito has to improve at a lot of areas of his game but he still scores 20 goals a season and for me that just carries too much value.

  11. I also wish people would stop moaning about Berbatov. yes he is a top gentleman and a very skilled player but this is a football club not a boys club.You guys can quote his goal record of last year all you want but obviously fergie doesnt rate him anymore. If he wants to stay at the club and be a bit player then so be it, but no one is forcing him to stay. Im tired of people like Scott from ROM constantly painting a picture of some poor victim whom the manager wont give a fair shake too.

    Hes not better than rooney, so that means he has to be rooneys sidekick. He isnt a better sidekick than either Chicha or Welbeck so that means he has to be a sub. He isnt a better sub than Owen, so that means he has to settle for being an alternate rooney. Add those things up and you get a carling cup player.

    I dont mind him staying because its nice to have such quality on the bench, I just find it odd that a player of his caliber is happy wasting the last few years of his prime as a bit part player.

    • Berba is very ineffectual coming off the bench, he also now has not got a hope in hell of a chance of starting, so really he should be sold as his contract is getting very low. This is the best situation all round, my only concern is the Bulgarian’s reluctance to move.

  12. Excuse the lateness in responding to this article (been stuck in the bed the last 3 days with sickness) but man, some great free kicks there in that list. Love all of becks, and ronnie’s, well, i still watch them sometimes and think with the way he kicks them, they’ve got absolutely no chance of going in. And then they do. The goals against pompey and le gooners, just absolute class. Cant help but miss the greasy little winker when i watch these 🙁
    The rooney goal against fenerbache to complete his hatrick on his debut, was special too.
    Thanks groggy, ian and eddy for posting.

  13. 1. Should Danny Welbeck be our first choice striker? YES. Especially games where opposition is packing the MF area against our Fletcher/Carrick/Ando combination

    2. Is Cleverley a certainty in our midfield? YES. After watching Fletcher especially the past 2-3 games. Maybe he needs time and maybe Clev will also need some after the injury but it is likely.

    3. Who should play right back, Smalling or Jones? Rafael as first option, Jones for the ‘right games’.

    4. What’s up with Fletcher and his illness? Needs a few more games at least to see if he can ever reach the form of 2009

  14. Anyone read Zonal Marking’s article on “Why are Manchester United allowing so many shots on their goal this season?”

    fun read

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